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Top Five Outdoor Events near Detroit throughout March 2024

In the blink of an eye, spring has arrived in Detroit! Welcome to March: the epitome of "shoulder season" recreation where days can start with a morning cycle and finish with powder skiing. As you navigate this most unpredictable of months, here are the top 5 outdoor events near Detroit for capitalizing on March's recreational opportunities!

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Shoulder. Season. There are no better two words for describing what Detroit region recreationists experience in March when trying to plan for a full day of outdoor experiences.


If you're a glass-half-full kind of person, then March should represent your favorite month of the year. For the next few weeks, you could have an opportunity to run on dry trails in the morning and snowshoe through powder in the evening. Or embrace a crisp morning hike before basking in the warmth of a mid-afternoon kayak. Our most coveted parks are still largely vacant of warmer-weather crowds. The most sought-after river routes or campsites are available for your recreational leisure.


Oh, and as a cherry on top, most state park drinking regulations don't take effect until April 1st. Sláinte.


On the other hand...March has a tendency to kind of suck. This month is already too warm to ski at the Big Four Resorts, often too cold to paddle, too muddy to bike, too early to hunt...etc., etc. If navigated poorly, recreationists can easily find themselves simply trying to survive a period of recreational purgatory.


We at Expedition Detroit align ourselves with the pro-March agenda. Conditions be damned, we're firmly in the friluftsliv, "there's no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing" crowd. However, especially for the "March Deniers" among us, we thought that we'd curate this list of Top 5 Outdoor Events to help ease your passing from winter into spring.

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1. Gaze into the Cosmos at a Dark Sky Preserve

March 9th  | Point Pelee National Park | 7:30 p.m. 


The days may finally be getting lighter, but the stars at Point Pelee National Park - the single best stargazing destination in the Detroit region - still shine as bright as ever! Point Pelee's "Dark Sky Nights" are especially catered towards star-gazing tourists willing to brave near-freezing temperatures at night, with amenities including extended visitor hours, seasonal star charts, and the combined natural beauty of the park and the cosmos.


But wait- there's more. This month's "Dark Sky Night" also includes a special Indigenous Astronomy Presentation event prior to sundown. The presentation will be led by members of the Oneida Wolf Clan and enlighten participants on how the careful observation of the stars, moon, sun, and other celestial bodies by Indigenous Peoples remains a rich and foundational source for the origins of modern astronomy.

2. Run for the Gold at a St. Patrick's Day 5K

March 10th and 16th | Throughout Detroit Region


There's only one time of year where waking up to any song by the Dropkick Murphys is not only acceptable, but culturally-respectable. As well as slamming a pre-race Guinness. Or kissing anyone with freckles or red hair, assuming that their green t-shirt of choice explicitly invites said kiss.


That beautiful time of year, my friends, is St. Patrick's Day - a day of remembrance of the "Old Country" for us Irish, acceptable debauchery, bag-pipe filled music, crowded pubs, and a festive leprechaun-themed 5K races. Detroit's oldest and most Irish neighborhood, Corktown, will be hosting its 41st running of the "Corktown Races" on March 10th. Other fantastic St. Paddy's-themed races include RF Events' "Shamrocks & Shenanigans" on the same day in Ann Arbor and the "Lucky Leprechaun Race" on March 16th in Utica.

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3. Earn your Slice of Pi(e)

March 14th | Virtual


For most of us, when you think of a "special day in March," you probably think of St. Patrick's Day. Obviously. But, if you time-travel back to your middle school years (apologies in advance), we all remember that one kid who came to school on March 14th, with a chocolate-chip pie under their arm, decorated in icing with one archaic symbol that you haven't thought of since your geometry exam: π.


"Ah, that's right," you should be thinking right about now. "Pi day."


Pi - the Greek trigonometric symbol that mathematically represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter - is shorthand calculated as "3.14." As such, March 14th is celebrated as "Pi Day" among mathletes and recreationists alike due to its correlation with the number. While Pi Day is internationally-recognized as a day to commemorate math, we at Expedition Detroit choose to celebrate by extending our typical mid-week 5K by 0.04 miles. There's even a virtual event sponsored by Epic Races to inspire runners to get outside on the 14th. Circular routes are strongly encouraged.

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4. Close Out Flannel Season with a Lumberjack Pancake Run

March 23rd | Detroit, Michigan | 9:00 a.m.


Flannel. Flapjacks. Finish lines. Can you think of a better trio for closing out "Flannel SZN" in the Detroit region? We sure can't, and we think that whoever thought of this race at the DNR's "Outdoor Adventure Center" deserves a raise.


This themed "Lumberjack Pancake" 5K race will traverse the Dequindre Cut, starting in front of the Outdoor Adventure Center. The course is flat and fast, and the race's "swag" includes a custom medal, lumberjack buff, free entry to the Outdoor Adventure Center beginning at 10 a.m., and a big pancake breakfast. All participants are encouraged to wear their best flannel apparel and sport their best lumberjack beard.

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5. Make a Dual Dash at the Bad Bunny 5K

March 26th | River Bends Park | 8:15 a.m.


Runners tend to fall in two, starkly opposed camps: road runners and trail runners. While we at Expedition Detroit prefer our trails, it truly doesn't take much to twist our arm into a solid road race. Still, the constant dichotomy between the two race genres can create notable tension across Detroit's running faithful - especially when races align on the same day.


Would it really be so hard to combine the events..?


Well, Bad Bunny has the best news for us all: not at all. This month, head over to River Bends Park in Shelby Township for a 5K race - trail and/or paved. That's right, this epic race features a dirt trail race kicking off at 8:15 a.m. AND a paved race at 9:15 a.m. (or both if you register for the Double Bad Bunny option).

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BONUS: Explore Your State Parks with Expedition Detroit!

All March  | 11 Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas


Winter hibernators, rejoice! The return of warming temperatures means that you can leave those extra layers at home - while also not worrying about crowds, bugs, or 5 p.m. sunsets.


In other words, RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to find your next favorite trail - and the Expedition Detroit team knows just where to lead you!


Check out our current offerings of guided trips covering the Detroit region's most beautiful state parks. This March, we are planning a select offering of guided hiking, night hiking, and - in the event of a surprise blizzard - snowshoeing day trips throughout Metro Detroit. For anyone interested in our guided snowshoe treks, note that we offer no-risk reservation transfer options for any treks that are cancelled due to conditions.


In other words, we guarantee that you will enjoy a world-class outdoor experience!


The Expedition Detroit team is proud to represent the Michigan DNR's largest commercial provider of guided hikes, backpacking expeditions, and trail running coach across ELEVEN of the Detroit region's most pristine state parks and recreation areas. Each of our guides has the field experience, wilderness first aid training, park knowledge, and outdoor passion that you can - and should - expect from any world-class trail experience.


P.S. Subscribers to our content get discounts on our guided trips AND online store items...


Explore Brighton State Recreation Area with Expedition Detroit!

 

Do you host an upcoming outdoor event that you would like to be featured in a future article? If yes, then we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at info@expeditiondetroit.com to discuss Expedition Detroit feature opportunities.

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